Upgrade to energy-efficient lighting and equipment. Energy-efficient lighting can significantly cut your electricity bill and reduce emissions. Small businesses can get free, no-obligation assessments to identify energy savings through the SmartLights program. The program offers start-to-finish technical assistance and instant rebates to help defray the cost of upgrading and/or repairing existing equipment. SmartLights can help with lighting retrofits, refrigeration and hot water heaters, and provides referrals to appropriate HVAC programs. Learn more at www.smartlights.org.
Purchase low and no-emission vehicles Use vehicles that have a lower impact on the environment such as hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), and biodiesel-fueled vehicles. Vehicles should be properly maintained to improve performance and reduce emissions.
Reduce employee commute emissions. You can help your employees reduce their commute emissions by encouraging them to take transit, rideshare, or bike to work. The Transportation Authority of Marin provides information and programs on green commute alternatives, as well as a commuter tool kit that helps businesses build a successful employee commute program. Check it out at www.tam.ca.gov.
Provide electric vehicle charging for employees. Having the ability to plug in at work is one of the most convincing factors for employees to choose to lease or buy an electric car. While it's nice to have a Level 2 charger, even a 120-volt outlet can do the trick. An employee can store enough electricity to drive 30-40 miles while charging on an outlet during a typical workday. Outlets are simple and economical to install.
Provide electric vehicle charging for customers. A few EV chargers in your parking lot make for great brand marketing and attract customers who drive EVs.
Recognize and promote your green efforts. Become a certified Green Business and improve your efficiency and community image while getting a marketing edge over your competition. You’ll need to demonstrate that you take action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both your facility and operations. Sign up at www.greenbusinessca.org.
Use environmentally responsible products. Buy paper products with at least 30% post-consumer content and purchase Energy Star-rated office equipment. Buy toxic-free cleaning supplies with a Green Seal or EcoLogo certification.
Reduce waste. Reduce your paper use by using duplex printing and reusing paper that’s been printed on one side. Use electronic documents whenever possible, and scan, rather than fax, documents. Recycle office supplies and refill toners and ink jet cartridges. Provide reusable plates, utensils and cups for your employees, and eliminate single-use water bottles.
Green your electricity. MCE Clean Energy offers its customers the opportunity to purchase electricity from 100% renewable energy sources. It costs just one penny more per kilowatt hour over regular Marin Clean Energy rates. You can enroll at www.mcecleanenergy.com/deepgreen.
Install solar. Solar installation prices continue to fall and new net energy metering rules mean you can now build solar projects over 1 MW.
Learn more ways to save at www.coolcalifornia.org/small-business.